Hushovd nets first Cervélo win since team announced it will disband
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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hushovd nets first Cervélo win since team announced it will disband

by Shane Stokes at 4:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Team fights back from disappointment

Thor HushovdRecovering from the shock of learning last week that the team would not continue, the Cervélo Test Team picked up its first victory since that announcement when Thor Hushovd raced to success in Murcia today. In all it was a good day for the squad, with the main Cervélo riders all steering out of trouble and finishing in the 60 man front group.

As a result, Xavier Tondo and Carlos Sastre remain seventh and 21st overall, 49 seconds and two minutes 15 seconds back respectively.

The former was praising of his victorious team-mate after the stage, saying that the triumph was predicted beforehand and the executed to perfection by the Norwegian road race champion.

“Hushovd is amazing. He picked this stage out of the road book and said, ‘I am going to win this one,’” Tondo said after the stage. “We were all there working for him but, to tell the truth, he didn’t much help. He was very strong on the climb and then he knew exactly what to do in the sprint. I wish I could pick stages like that.”

Hushovd said afterwards that he knew the climb would be fine for him, providing he dug deep, while rivals like Farrar and Cavendish wouldn’t succeed in making it over with the front group. He had to position himself very well beforehand, giving himself some room to drift back, and then grit his teeth and suffer. However it all worked out just fine.

“I was on the second or third wheel at the base of the climb and then I lost contact with about 1.5km to go. But then I regained contact on the descent,” he explained, praising his team’s efforts to help him throughout the stage and in the finale.

Inigo Cuesta, who at 41 years of age has the record of 17 consecutive Vuelta starts, said things went completely to plan. Not only in relation to Hushovd’s win, but also another goal relating to the general classification.

“We wanted to achieve two things today: help Thor win the stage and keep Carlos and Xavier protected,” he explained. “We managed to pull them both off, so we are very satisfied with this stage. These stages are nervous, on small roads, but we got through it okay.”

What is most impressive about the triumph is the way that the team has managed to keep focussed despite the obvious disappointment of learning last week that it would cease to exist at the end of the season. Some of the riders and staff employed by Cervélo have nothing sorted out for next season, but they have continued to do their jobs well in various races and at the Vuelta itself.

That pulling together is something which was rewarded today. Hushovd’s triumph is something that each rider will take encouragement from, and so too the fact that tomorrow’s 187.1 kilometre leg to Orihuela could go to a bunch sprint. While Hushovd may not be as quick as Farrar or Cavendish, his confidence is on a high and his team-mates are determined to keep fighting, keep winning, and keep looking forwards in order to secure their futures in the sport.

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